Culture, Politics

Condi Rice on Iraq and the Civil War

Condoleeza Rice, in a recent interview with Essence Magazine, draws the parallel between the Iraq War and the Civil War: both had its critics and both were, apparently equally, justified:

Asked if she still thought the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was right, considering the cost in lives and treasure, Rice said, “Absolutely.”
Rice then offered a parallel between critics of the administration’s Iraq policies and “people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War (in this country) to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold.”
“I’m sure that there were people who said, “why don’t we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves.”
“Just because things are difficult, it does’t mean that they are wrong or that you turn back,” Rice told the magazine, which has a large audience among African-Americans.
Rice, a former academic, said she spent the summer reading biographies of the Founding Fathers and said she was certain “there were people who thought the Declaration of Independence was a mistake” as well.

Is someone just on a wee bit of a moral high horse? Likening opposition to the Iraq War to “leaving slavery in the south” is not only patronizing to the overwhelming majority of blacks who opposed the American invasion in 2003, but it also draws attention away from the fact that whereas many atrocities were abated by our civil war, many atrocities — including a civil war — were caused solely by our invasion of Iraq.
Opposition to the American invasion and occupation of Iraq now not only makes one immoral, makes one un-American (“either with us or the terrorists”), and potentially a fascist — now it may even put one on the side of slavery.
If these people created any more spin, I’d start singing “Sweet Georgia Brown”.

8 thoughts on “Condi Rice on Iraq and the Civil War

  1. It is particularly a moral and historical fallacy since the Civil War initially had nothing to do with abolishing slavery. Lincoln was very explicit about his willingness to leave slavery alone if the Southern States would simply rejoin the Union.

  2. HOLLA — although I think she called herself “addressing that” by making the distinction between “ending the war” and “leaving slaves in the South”, implying that slaves would have been a “concession” made by the North…

  3. When I read this item on another blog I was so flippin’ mad. Between the assertions of Rumsfeld and Rice if one is critical of the Iraq war it is akin to being a Nazi sympathizer or an supporter for chattel slavery. Give me a break!!

  4. It’s not remotely clear that the civil war itself was fought to eradicate slavery. Last I checked the southern states seceeded when Lincoln won the presidency without carrying a single southern state. Lincoln’s republican party was against the *expansion* of slavery, not in favor of banning it entirely. Rather than attempt to work within a government that they had no part of, the southern states seceeded. From the perspective of the northern states, Lincoln made is clear time and again that his focus was the preservation of the union.
    In fact, the Emancipation Proclamation only freed ***confederate*** slaves – it was likely more of a punishment for the south than a statement about slavery itself. It took two more years and the 13th amendment to free slaves throughout the union.
    Who cares whether her horse is high, Condi’s analogy is just plain wrong.

  5. Gloria Steinem in the NYT Magazine last week:
    “I wish somebody would write a book about Condi Rice called ‘How Did She Get That Way?'”

  6. Considering that Birth Fangs Rice’s dad moved the family away from the Civil Rights movement, I tend to chuckle when she resurrects any portion of it. Black folk in the US despise her as much as they hate Ohio’s Blackwell.
    Ben Franklin, while working on the Declaration of Independence, said that the issue of slavery would destroy the new republic, and would eventually have to be settled. He, Hamiliton, and a few others were in the minority.
    Lincoln was always opposed to slavery, but he realized that the republic had to be defended first. Without the US republic, slavery would have spread throughout the world.

  7. Dear Mr. Bush,
    We heard you express your regrets regarding the casualties of Israel’s ravaging war against my country, Lebanon.
    I hope you have been furnished with a true profile of the atrocities being perpetrated in my country. You pose as being at war with terrorism. Let me honestly tell you: Charity starts at home.
    Israel is wantonly indulging in the most horrendous forms of terrorism in Lebanon: indiscriminately killing innocent civilians at random; not sparing children, elderly or handicapped people; demolishing buildings over their residents’ heads; and destroying all infrastructure, roads, bridges, water and power arteries, harbors, air strips and storage facilities. Nothing moving on the highways is spared, not even ambulances, trucks, trailers, cars or even motorcycles, all in violation of the Geneva Conventions and human rights.
    The displaced population has reached more than one fourth of the total population of my country – all suffering the harshest and most miserable of conditions. The victims include thousands of killed and maimed.
    If this is not terrorism, what is?
    Israel’s savage assault has been labeled retribution for Hizbullah’s abduction of two Israeli soldiers. This smacks of collective punishment, which constitutes a brazen violation of the Geneva Conventions and human rights. Furthermore, the alibi is far from plausible. The two Israeli soldiers were abducted for the express purpose of reaching a swap of hostages with Israel. In fact, Israel had acceded more than once to such swaps in the past. Why would a swap of prisoners be acceptable at one time and a taboo, rather a casus belli, at another? This created a conviction among the Lebanese that the sweeping assault against them was premeditated, and the abduction was only a tenuous excuse.
    Israel is indulging in terrorism at its worst, at its ugliest, using the most lethal and sophisticated weapons you have supplied them.
    We the Lebanese are justified in seeing in Israel as a most atrocious terrorist power, and seeing in you a direct partner. Mr. President: You are indeed a terrorist practicing the worst variant of terrorism as you condone the annihilation of my country, precluding a cease-fire to be announced, supporting the aggression against my people politically and diplomatically and bolstering Israel’s destructive arsenal with the most lethal weaponry.
    Mr. President: You are not fooling anybody with your alleged war against terrorism. In our perspective, you and Israel are the most unscrupulous terrorists on earth. If you want to fight terrorism, we suggest that you start with your administration and your hideous ally, Israel.
    You repeatedly claim that Israel is acting in self-defense. How preposterous! Self-defense on other people’s occupied territory is tantamount to one thing: blatant aggression.
    You call Hizbullah a terrorist organization. We call it a legitimate resistance movement. There would have been no military wing of Hizbullah if there had been no Lebanese territory under Israeli occupation, if there had been no Lebanese hostages languishing in Israeli jails, and if Lebanon had not been exposed to almost daily Israeli intrusions into its airspace and territorial waters, and to sporadic incursions into Lebanese land and bombardment of civilian targets.
    You cannot eliminate a party by demolishing a whole country. This would have been achieved peacefully by Israel withdrawing from the land it occupies, releasing Lebanese prisoners, and desisting from further acts of aggression against Lebanon.
    Israel is the most horrendous terrorist power. And you, Mr. President, are unmistakably a direct partner, and hence a straight terrorist.
    Salim al-Hoss, former prime minister of Lebanon

  8. Lincoln pulled the slavery card to keep the British from intervening.
    The CSA had the Brits on their side until Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and therefore painted the whole thing as a war solely about slavery, which Britain had already, at least in name, abolished.
    It’s only the whitewashed American history textbooks that portray the narrative of Lincoln as freeing slaves just cause he thought was the right thing to do–and don’t get me wrong, he may have thought that…but it had more to do with it was the strategic thing to do.
    Motivations aren’t the important thing though. A bunch of people hid Jews during the Shoah partly out the expectation of a later cash reward, but hey, no one’s going to rag on them for that. They did a good thing that had a lasting impact, who cares what the hell the initial motivations might have been.
    At any rate Rice’s comparison is rediculous.

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